EU countries to explain lack of implementation of the Telecoms Package

By EDRi · July 27, 2011

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Deutsch: [EU-Staaten müssen sich für bisherige Nicht-Umsetzung der EU-Telekommunikationsvorschriften rechtfertigen |]

The European Commission has sent letters of formal notice requesting
information from 20 EU countries regarding the reasons why they have not yet
fully implemented the EU Telecoms Package.

The EU member states were supposed to produce national legislation that
would implement, by 25 May 2011, the EU Telecoms Package, adopted late 2009,
but only seven states have fully complied until now.

The Telecoms Package includes amendments to the EU’s Privacy and
Electronic Communications Directive providing a new requirement for website
owners to obtain consent from users to track their online behaviour through

According to the EU Directive, storing and accessing information on users’
computers was lawful provided “the subscriber or user concerned has given
his or her consent, having been provided with clear and comprehensive
information about the purposes of the processing”.

The 20 member states have begun the process of drawing up new laws and some
have even implemented some of the new telecoms laws requirements but not the
entire Telecoms Package. In June, EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes warned the
member states that the Commission would use its “full powers” against those
countries that would not comply with the Directive.

Yet, Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), stated
that the Commission has not offered consistent guidance on how the EU states
should comply with the new legislation. Hustinx also criticised Kroes for
supporting self-regulatory methods undertaken by the online advertising
industry and for her support for the US “do not track” measures allowing
users to request websites not to monitor their activity, as the system
relies on websites reacting to the users’ requests.

The formal letter sent by the Commission to the 20 countries represent a
first legal stage in the identification of infringements from countries that
have not enacted EU laws and could be referred to the European courts.

The 20 state members are supposed to reply to the letters within two months.
“If they fail to reply or if it is not satisfied with the answer, the
Commission can send the member states concerned a formal request to
implement the legislation, and ultimately refer them to the European Court
of Justice (ECJ),” the Commission said.

The ECJ can order EU member countries to implement EU Directives and fine
them if they do not.

European Commission begins legal action against countries that have still to
implement telecoms laws (20.07.2011)

Digital Agenda: Commission starts legal action against 20 Member States on
late implementation of telecoms rules (19.07.2011)